The world of AIM: Kids & Teens’s got a column on kids and teens using AIM, and a transcript of a chat with experts Peter Grunwald and Tom de Boor.
Some points from the story:
There are 36 million active screen names on AIM, and 25 percent are for users under 17. Two billion IMs fly through cyberspace every day — for all ages.
How many buddies do your kids have?
And who the hell are they?
Grunwald and de Boor comment:
“…We think kids are finding instant messaging fits better into the multitasking milieu that they enjoy. They want to enjoy many media simultaneously and IMing while doing other things is easier than talking on the phone while doing other things (if for no other reasons, in many cases, than that it requires only one phone line). You can carry on conversations with many more people simultaneously by IM than by phone, you have a broader reach of people you can communicate with by IM, you can think about what you’re saying (so as to avoid the mortification of saying something stupid), you can tune out people IMing you who you don’t want to deal with (the electronic equivalent of “you’re breaking up”), you have some level of anonymity and distance, etc. etc. Plus there’s still some novelty to it and in some cases some distance from mom and dad’s understanding.